Red Coral | - CCMAR -

Red Coral

For the last 15 years, CCMAR has been dedicated to mapping marine habitats, an important research area for the implementation of marine spatial planning and management policies. This work has made it possible to discover colonies of red corals over 70 meters deep on the coast of the Western Algarve, with abundant, healthy and reasonably sized colonies.

Red coral is an extremely slow-growing animal, which makes it very vulnerable to impacts such as illegal harvesting. In the Mediterranean basin, over-harvesting has caused devastating effects on entire populations of red coral, leading to the implementation of conservation and management measures since the 1980s. 

In this context, we have been collaborating with the National Maritime Authority that in April 2012, apprehended more than 30 kg of live red coral, which was being illegally caught off the coast of the Algarve. Since then we have been providing scientific information to support legal procedures. Based on the confiscated corals, we have been developing a series of scientific studies to determine the impact of the capture of this species in the Algarve.

To ensure the conservation of this species, the Ministries of the Environment and Climate Action and the Sea have joined forces to implement new measures to protect red coral from illegal harvesting and other threats. The Minister of the Sea Ricardo Serrão came to see our seabed mapping work and announced new protection measures for red coral.

Scientific papers: